Words are (not) flowing out…

You may have noticed a down turn in blog activity. I’m struggling with a little writer’s block. Or big one. Even whipping this up is more tricky than I’d like.

I think my chronic indecision is the problem. I’m wrestling with a couple of Uber decisions and a whole host of related little ones. Trying to make all those choices correctly is eating up all my headspace. I am a tiny bit paralysed on the creative front.

Bear with me. I’m hoping I’ll the words will flow again soon.

Words are flowing…

Words have always been my religion. Wether my love of the beauty you can create with words made me a writer or what I could say when I wrote made me love words is my own personal chicken & egg. Regardless, the fact remains, I worship words. In that adoration lies a certain obsession; from worrying over a sentence for an hour to finding affinity in a someone  else’s perfect phrase. Which, is exactly what I want to tell you about. 

In the past week I’ve come across two such phrases that at different points in my life seemed made for me. Across the Universe is one of The Beatles songs I immersed myself in as a teen. I still love it, but the words have become so familiar that they often just wash over me. Well, on bus last week for some reason I was really listening. When I reached the chorus, one line flooded me with feeelings from times gone:

‘Nothing’s gonna change my world’ 

I vividly recalled being 15 & completely believing that nothing could shake me. I had at that point lived a charmed life. A life of love & safety & competence that had formed a girl confident she could take on the world. And win. 

I look back on that version of me with such mixed feelings. I’m proud of her; she was the weird girl that managed to be popular. The smart girl that partied. Even at 15 she knew her convictions mattered & those who felt threatened by that could fuck off. It takes a specfic kind of teenage courage to own that you are different & to celebrate it. Oh, the plans she had. It never once occurred to her that anything could knock her down. 

I’m welling up writing this because I know what happened next. It took years of therapy, but I can finally feel compassion for that cocksure girl that fucked it all up. Now, after years blame, I want to protect her. A story of my history & evolution in 5 words. 

A few days later, in a fit of insomnia, I was flicking through tv channels & found Girl Interrupted. The first time I saw this the description of suicidal thoughts clicked. 

‘Once you’ve posed that question, it won’t go away’

I hadn’t heard anyone else voice this cold fact before, but it was true. Once I had seriously considered suicide, it never really went away. Killing myself became the solution to every problem. So many of Susanna Kaysen’s words rang true. Hearing my terrifying feelings expresssed out loud somehow justified my pain. 

All I ever heard about suicide or self harm was don’t do it. People often talk in well meaning platitudes. They’ll tell you that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Life will get better, they insist. It’s all meaningless. When you are in that hole, getting out doesn’t seem possible. More over, even if you believe that someday, you might be happier, it does nothing to assuage your current pain. Severe depression is torturous. There is a comfort in knowing an escape hatch exists. For a long time the knowledge that if I couldn’t take anymore of life I didn’t have to was the one thing that kept me alive. 

Watching that film again brought back those dark times. More than that, Kaysen’s words brought a sense of peace. In my suicidal days, having my daily struggle with those thoughts acknowledged was powerful. Now, realising that suicide is no longer my default trouble shooter is compelling. 

Sometimes it takes a glance at the past to see how far I’ve come. I know those feelings can return. Which is why these words still resonate. Another example of a handful of words spelling out the story of life. 

This week I have been mostly…

recovering from surprise surgery. So, what do you listen to keep calm when the dr in a&e says ‘we’re going to operate right away’?

  
First stop was a little John Lennon introspection via The Beatles with Across the universe. This song has always held a calming magic for me. I completely identify with the notion of words ‘possessing & caressesing’ . In times of crisis I often turn to words, be it writing, reading or soothing lyrics. Naturally I got a bit scared when the dr’s started making rapid decisions & letting Lennon’s words drift over me really helped. 

You can always rely on Massive Attack for an epic chill out tune. My favourite take a deep breath song of theirs is Teardrop. I love the repetitive, grounding percussion that runs throughout. Repitition is mirrored in the lyrics which further offers a steadying hand. The rest of the musical arrangement feels like being emerged in a hot bath. 

Suzanne by Leonard Cohen was the next call up for operation no panic attack. Cohen’s steadfast vocals slowly unraveling a story captures my thoughts & prevents them from wandering into worry. The imagery of the river in the song also lulls me into a gentle place. Suzanne allows me let my breath ebb & flow like a peaceful stream. 

Hysteria averted & procedure complete I woke up feeling in need of a boost. Being stuck in a hospital bed, music once again came to my rescue. 

  
In search of a defiant sounds, I of course turned to Robyn. Dancing on my own  has long been my just do you jam. When confronted with yet another hospital room, you need a little mental boogie. The song isn’t actually particularly upbeat, but I like the concept of just saying ‘fuck it’ & rocking the dance floor all by myself. 

What better way to convince yourself that your emergency procedure was no big deal than singing along to Bobby mcferrin? Any reggae style tune has a sunny bounce, but come one, ‘don’t worry, be happy’ is right there in the lyrics. I have been telling myself everything was ok with the aid of this song since I was kid. It still works.